The news is this: according to Confesercenti, 36% of Italian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) plan to raise their sales prices, 26% are inclined to limit opening hours, 18% are considering employee cuts and 6 % are inclined to suspend their activity, also due to the low season which, by its nature, is less profitable.
The study, carried out by SWG on a sample of companies with less than 50 employees operating in the crafts, tourism and trade, draws a picture that goes beyond numbers and percentages even if they are data that make you think such as, for example , that 13% of SMEs that intend to make use of the guaranteed loans introduced by the Aid-ter decree to be able to pay their energy bills.
All this because of the high energy that is paralyzing Italy by forcing the closure of commercial activities of various kinds. Abnormal closures, both temporary and definitive, not induced by the business but by the unsustainability of raw materials.
How to read this data
SMEs, by definition, are those with fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of less than 50 million euros. Beyond the title that Confesercenti has given to its research, this is limited to small businesses, that is, those that have fewer than 50 employees and a turnover of up to 10 million euros. To these, always remaining faithful to the official definitions, are interpolated the micro-enterprises, which have fewer than 10 employees and a turnover of less than 2 million euros.
The Observatory of the Politecnico di Milano in 2020 surveyed 4.4 million companies active in Italy, underlining the importance of micro-enterprises, which are 95.05% of the total (4.182 million). This means that the country’s economy has a backbone based on these companies and putting them in crisis corresponds to undermining a building at its foundations, dragging both the largest companies (SMEs) and large ones that, in Italy, are 0.09% of the total.
If we broaden the focus to SMEs proper, these represent 4.86% of the Italian entrepreneurial fabric and, together, employ 33% of workers, generating 41% of the total turnover of the country system. It thus becomes clear that abandoning companies with less than 50 employees to themselves corresponds to the crumbling of the Italian economy.
A new definition of business risk
For entrepreneurs, business risk is their daily bread. Customers who are late in paying, suppliers who are late in delivering, new rules or laws that enable them to review part of their company policies and much more. These are all things that can be remedied and that leave the entrepreneur himself a margin of maneuver. Against the expensive energy there is little to do, if not dismantle part of your business and resort to extraordinary credits to meet equally extraordinary debts.
Also according to the Confesercenti study – entrepreneurs are asking for moratoriums on loans, fiscal peace, reduction of the tax wedge and personal income tax. This demonstrates how much we are in a vicious circle: to survive, entrepreneurs need interventions by the state which they ask to be less pretentious towards them. Paying less money to the state and expecting it to give more funds to the entrepreneurial fabric is a negation in terms but it renders the unsustainability of the moment we are going through very well.